PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 19th October, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the House that the 2021 Pre-Budget Seminar will be held from 22nd to 26th October, 2021, at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls. Hon. Senators who have not yet confirmed their attendance with the Public Relations Department must do so. Officers from the department will be stationed at the Members Dining Room on 19th and 21st October, 2021.
Hon. Members from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces will drive to Victoria Falls while those from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central Provinces will travel by air. A charter flight has been arranged and the departure time from the Robert Mugabe International Airport is at 0900 hours on 22nd October, 2021 and the expected arrival time in Victoria Falls is 1000hrs. The return charter flight will leave Victoria Falls on 26th October at 0900hrs and arrives in Harare at 1000hrs.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Mr. President, I move the motion
standing in my name that a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:
May it please you, Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, we Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe, desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: I second.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you once more Mr. President. I am extremely thrilled and exhilarated this afternoon at this sole chance to lead debate on the Presidential Speech enunciated to mark the opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. To me, it really is a very rare privilege; so it is only proper for me to thank you Mr. President for affording me this rare life chance.
Allow me Mr. President, to begin by thanking His Excellency for the eloquent and pragmatic speech that ushered us into a new session, the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament with much enthusiasm. Despite the COVID-19 setback, it is crystal clear from the President’s speech, that as a nation, we are on the correct trajectory towards not only overcoming the scourge of the pandemic but realising our vision of becoming a prosperous upper middle income nation by 2030.
Mr. President, His Excellency, besides noting that our nation remains under the cloud of COVID-19 pandemic for the second year running, acknowledged and sincerely congratulated the people of our great nation, that we call Zimbabwe for their unity and fortitude as well as the hardworking culture which they continue to demonstrate. He further mentioned that, that has seen us realising unprecedented milestones and successes against all forms of adversity. At this juncture Mr. President, I would like to sincerely thank His Excellency for being a listening and hands-on President, for giving praise where it is due and for commending the hard work exhibited by the people of Zimbabwe, with special mention to all sectors of the economy that were rallying together, playing their respective part towards the realisation of Vision 2030.
Mr. President, His Excellency spoke of peace, unity, harmony, stability and growing national cohesion as factors that will see us as a nation realising the goals and aspirations we have set. Indeed Mr. President, we need to, as a nation, take heed and treasure the peace, unity, harmony and stability that we currently enjoy. I want to applaud the President for reminding the nation that the aforesaid factors are of paramount importance, hence the need to ride over them to achieve our goals. It is also very essential to take note of the President’s advice that individually and collectively; we should commit to save our country wholeheartedly so that we can improve the quality of life for all, ‘leaving no one behind’.
Mr. President, His Excellency made mention of the upward growth trajectory of our economy by 7.8% which he attributed to good 2020/21 agricultural season, firm mineral commodity prices, stable inflation and exchange rate and the containment of COVID-19 pandemic. This is despite the backdrop of continuing illegal, draconic economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. Mr. President, allow me to be loud, in fact very loud and very clear and in very bold letters to say, we strongly support and rally behind His Excellency the President’s call for urgent and unconditional removal of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on our country Zimbabwe.
In agriculture Mr. President, I want to express my gratitude to His Excellency for stressing timely implementation of Government programmes befitting the agriculture sector, the focus being to increase rural per capita incomes while also providing household food security and nutrition.
He also commended the new crop of young farmers currently doing business in the farms that he said he has assured the nation that the land we fought for will remain in safe hands for -posterity. His Excellency the President, also mentioned that Government is consistently availing adequate resources to expedite payments to our farmers for crop deliveries. The President is ever stressing that the aforementioned strategy is envisaged to guarantee enhanced productivity and capability of farm operations along the farming as a business philosophy.
This is highly commendable as it shows that our President is a listening President. Previously, there were embarrassing delays in the payment of deliveries made. A very bad example was the issue of cotton and COTTCO. I remember vividly in this Senate, a fellow Hon. Member talked about it but now due to the President’s intervention, things have drastically improved and it is now a thing of the past.
Mr. President, His Excellency the President mentioned that tobacco sales exceeded 210,9 kgs with export earnings surpassing US$818.6 million. Cotton also increased by 100% to 2000 tonnes. This is a sign of hard work by the Zimbabweans. Should we continue on this trajectory, then even the illegal economic sanctions will be rendered useless. The President went on to bemoan and was gravely concerned with losses incurred by farmers due to the menace of livestock disease.
I want to thank His Excellency and the Government, through the Department of Veterinary Services, for distributing tick grease and the January disease to all provinces, districts, wards and villages; this has a little bit alleviated the problem of livestock diseases.
Mr. President, I want to commend His Excellency the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa for the various bilateral schemes that will inject additional 3 000 tractors and over 200 combine harvesters meant to augment the current number of mechanical farming implements available nationally. Zimbabwe is an agriculture country, hence investing in it as has been done by the Government is the best way to go. I will go on to applaud His Excellency for the current economic rebound and increased productivity that has seen increased demand for electricity and fuel.
The President and his Government has redoubled efforts to complete and commission Units 7 and 8 at Hwange Power Station. Furthermore, the announcement by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, that this country has been receiving numerous requests for hosting of regional and international expos in Victoria Falls and Kariba is not only a clear endorsement of our national vaccination programme, but a welcome development deserving a high praise to His Excellency.
Mr. President, I will not be exhaustive of the Presidential Speech, so I will leave time to fellow Hon. Senators. I, however, once again want to commend the President and the Government for prioritizing capital spending with 34% of total expenditure earmarked for infrastructural development.
I will go on to thank him and the Government for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, which is transformational across all provinces, districts, cities and towns. What is interestingly encouraging and satisfying Mr. President, is that local resources are being put to good use. Local contractors are being empowered and the community and public are experiencing an added convenience.
When it comes to transport Mr. President, His Excellency and the Government did wonders. Resources were availed for the procurement of modern buses to service urban, intercity and rural routes. The entry of Qatar airline to further link our country with the Middle East markets is also a welcome development. The recent procurement of Embraer ERJ 145 to add to the entity and serviceable fleet of plans is also laudable; here I am referring to Air Zimbabwe as an entity. Rehabilitation and expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airports is also on course, including other various strips like Kariba, Buffalo Range and Grand Reef. On this note Mr. President, I want each and every one of us here in the Senate, to support the President for a huge success of this entire endeavour.
His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, spoke at length on the Legislative Agenda for the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament. This is a topic that talks about our mandate as parliamentarians or legislators and I hope every one of us took heed. Mr. President, it is true, we the legislators have unfinished business that we are carrying over into the Fourth Session. The President made mention of the Bills that could not be dispensed during the Third Session. He also talked about the existing statutes which required alignment with the Constitution. He stressed that all the outstanding jobs should be completed during the Fourth Session.
May I now Mr. President, acknowledge the President’s command and go on to advise my fellow Hon. Senators to tighten their belts, work hard to ensure all the outstanding work is done and is up to date. His Excellency further highlighted that Parliament will be requested to consider legislation relating to implementation of the devolution agenda, that is presentation of the Provincial Councils Amendment Bill.
In fact, there are about 14 Bills that need to be worked on during the Fourth Session that were supposed to have been actioned during the Third Session. The mere fact that His Excellency the President is alive to all these outstanding Bills and statutes is a clear indication that His Excellency is a constitutionalist. I could not avoid a broad smile when His Excellency talked about his being aware of the great expectations to migrate to the new Parliament building in the new city of Mt Hampden. We are crowded, that is a fact and yet we are rearing to go, very eager to go to the new Parliament building located in the new city and become the pioneers of both the new building and the city.
When His Excellency said progress is pleasing at the new building, to me and many other Hon. Members in this Senate, it meant the building is almost complete. Allow me Mr. President, to once again thank His Excellency and the Second Republic for coming up with the initiative of a new building in a new city.
I want to end my debate by quoting two great men, one from Zimbabwe and the other from Ghana. Allow me to quote His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa when he said, “To our parliamentarians, I wish to reiterate the need to expedite the legislative work that lies ahead for the remainder of this year and going into 2022. Let there be a common desire to prioritise the enactment of laws which reflect and give impetus to the developmental aspirations of our people.”
I will then go on to quote the second great man, the former President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah – may his soul rest in eternal peace. When he was just rounding up his address to UNDP in 1957, he said, “There is nothing that small men can say when great men talk”. His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe is inevitably a great man and the man talking to you right now is obviously a very small man and has nothing further to say. I thank you Mr. President and I thank all Hon. Senators – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President, I would first of all want to thank Hon. Sen. Kambizi for the motion and in seconding such a motion, I would like to start by thanking His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief, His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, for a highly resounding road map of where our country was, where we are and the crystal clear statement of where we are going. In addition, his words on the required national solidarity leave no doubts as to the attitude our nation needs to build up for the guaranteed success of Zimbabwe.
Indeed, through his astuteness in leadership, we have so far weathered the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic without the level of carnage that was unfortunately experienced in other countries. Despite the highly disruptive mandatory requirements of lockdowns and the burden of sanctions, we have seen the country balance its way through all these adversities. The participation of all right minded Zimbabweans towards achievement of 2030 goals is required by serving our nation wholeheartedly. Inclusivity of all members of our country cannot be over-emphasised. The national economic growth rate of over 7, 8% is a highly commendable achievement for our country indeed. Development of the ever critical agricultural and mining sector is a commendable achievement delivered through focus and resilience of policy and efforts.
Macro-economic stability forms the foundation of an economy and His Excellency harnessed all the necessary efforts to achieve it despite sanctions, COVID-19 lockdowns and other mischievous behaviour in the market. Indeed, sanctions must go!
A 7, 8% growth rate under sanctions is a sure sign of good leadership. The increased number of young people involved in successful farming is a positive sign for the future of the heritage of our nation. A nation assured of food security from our own local resources coupled withthe philosophy of taking farming as a business is the first best step towards conditioning our people into professional sustainable farmers. We shall become the breadbasket of Africa again at this pace as proven by the production results of last season with 100% increase in cotton production and over half a billion in tobacco sales. Indeed, value addition of these products will ignite re-industrialisation of Zimbabwe from the agricultural sector.
Mechanisation and modernisation of farming will go a long way in enhancing productivity of already a buoyant agricultural sector. We commend the plan to bring in more farm implements for our farmers as well as the intended enhancement of DDF services in tillage programmes. We fully commend the implementation of massive dam projects throughout the country. Zimbabwe is the most highly dammed nation in Africa. This will also assist in mitigating climate change effects on our agriculture – a true continental leadership style.
Re-industrialisation via import substitution is indeed a noble idea as the industry is guaranteed of a market and a platform to start growing till export capability into the region is achieved. It is a safe investment for our investors at large, driving the theme for buy proudly Zimbabwean brands to enhance the industrialisation drive and build our local brands for world markets over time.
The increase in energy demand is an excellent sign of growth and we commend all the efforts being made to cater for the forecast demand in time to sustain the growth. Besides Hwange expansion and solar projects, we are excited by the prospect of the Muzarabani oil and gas projects where your efforts have been of paramount importance. These projects will see us being self-sustaining in terms of fuel supply and save us billions of dollars in fuel imports per year.
Added to that, the by-products are known to be ammonia which we trust will fully support our agrarian drive by way of low cost fertilizer produced locally. To make and repair our roads, plastics for pet-containers, electricity generation through the use of gas powered stations -for sure, we are on the road to achieving vision 2030 and to achieve the forecast of 7,8% economic growth.
It gives our nation pride to have our vaccination programme being endorsed by being given the right to host regional and international meetings in Victoria Falls, our wonder of the world being honoured in the process.
With the requirement to ignite business activity, the allocation of 34% of total expenditure has seen our growth shooting up significantly which tendsto disarm petty critics of Zimbabwe as our GDP will surely rise to levels of softening external forces working against our country. At the same time, we are trying to keep all the money circulating in the country while providing our local experts the opportunity to build profiles for future use in competing in other countries. Indeed, the benefit is for today and for tomorrow. Cleaning up the road and air service facilities is a good preparation for an influx of investors and excellent image-setting move.
The emergency road rehabilitation programme is a reality on the ground by the Government. In line with our Vision 2030, alignment of the Human Resource towards a more practical resource is commendable and is the only way to kick-start innovation and the subsequent production that comes with it. The regularisation programme for informal and irregular settlement certainly requires a lot of attention as it has got a high impact of individual family units.
Bringing money into the households is a fundamental requirement for increasing the prosperity of our nation. It goes without saying that capitalising the people’s business has been the key impediment to many due to sanctions blocking entry of capital into our country. They have not had the full opportunity to earn from their sweat. Using local capital resource via NSSA is the most prudent idea that ever happened to our entrepreneurs. The idea of giving women a dedicated channel for capital via Zimbabwe Women Micro Finance Bank, Treasury and SMEDCO is a welcome development indeed.
Drug abuse has consumed some of the sharpest young minds and taken lives of some of our young people too. We trust that a successful solution will be achieved towards this end.
Completion of the re-alignment of laws has seen significant progress with only 42 laws to go. The target to complete this by end of the Session is realistic and will set the milestone for future development of new laws whose space was being taken by the alignment process.
As for Parliamentary Pensions Act of addressing deficiencies identified in the present Act, – this will go a long way in motivating Parliamentarians into working harder with very little room for rent-seeking behaviour. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that, indeed we shall reap success and prosperity in the Zimbabwe we want and deserve if only we remain in peace, love, unity and harmony. United we stand, divided we fall. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to support Hon. Sen. Kambizi who moved this motion. Let me thank Hon. Kambizi for bringing the motion of the Presidential Speech to this House, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mabika. I would like to thank His Excellency the President for his very important words. I will say a few words.
The President started off by thanking the citizens of this country for showing unity of purpose during the beginning of COVID-19. The pandemic was very strong but the President encouraged people to remain united. The President is very happy about the unity shown by the citizens. Due to the unity displayed by the citizens, we now realise that COVID-19 is going down although we lost quite a number of our relatives. We want to thank the majority of the citizens who worked in unity for us to understand this pandemic.
I would like to thank the President of this country as well for condemning the sanctions. Sanctions have hampered development and brought disunity in this country because some love them whilst others do not. However, let me say that His Excellency is clear that he wants those sanctions to go because it is us as Zimbabweans who went to beg for them. Those who imposed them did not come here but we went to them to have them imposed on ourselves. If we see what is transpiring in the country, the sanctions are affecting everyone. We cannot develop as a country because we cannot access assistance from other countries including our friends because of sanctions. Whilst some people call them targeted, they are real and they have affected this country. They have destroyed and affected progress in our country. For those who went to beg for sanctions with the view that they will get assistance, they should revise their view and go back so that the sanctions are removed and there is progress.
I would like to thank the President of this country for also bringing in the Women’s Bank. The lives of women, especially during the colonial times, we were not even allowed to open up bank accounts, obtain identity documents, drive cars or go for maternity leave. If one went for maternity leave, they would find that by the time they wanted to come back, there will already be a replacement for them. I would like to thank President Mnangagwa for bringing the Women’s Bank which is bringing in a lot of progress to women in terms of business. A lot of women are now developing and we also hope that many women will be able to access those funds so that we eradicate poverty. We know that when women access funds, their development will translate to the development of the country.
Mr. President, let me say that His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, through his address in Parliament, was very much troubled by the behaviour of the young people, especially on drug abuse. That is a foreign culture, it is not Zimbabwean but our youths are busy imitating cultures from other countries and they believe that by abusing drug substances, it is good for them. You will realise that most of our youth these days are doing that but we believe that there is a solution to end drug abuse. His Excellency said that the security sector will work tirelessly to stop the spread of drug abuse. As parents, let us also complement Government efforts so that we stop drug abuse by our children.
In order for these efforts to be successful, let us ensure that our children do not abuse drugs in our families at family level; it is not a good thing at all. Let us think deeply about drug abuse and let us try to think where it is coming from and why? I personally think that it is because the youth constitute the majority of the population. Because we are endowed with a lot of resources, the youth are abusing drugs to intoxicate the young ones so that they destroy their thinking and that they lose track of the wonderful resources that we have. That way, they will not be able to stand and defend the country. Our youths should be able to defend this country. They should know that problems cannot be resolved by drugs.
Let me also point out to what His Excellency, the President of the Republic said; he thanked the security forces for preserving peace in this country. Sometimes we may not appreciate that but the President emphasised that the security forces are upholding the Constitution of this country to ensure that this country has peace. There is no war in this country. If a country is at peace, the military then turns to development issues. That is why we see them now building bridges, schools, clinics and libraries. That only happens when there is peace in the country and there is no war in this country. I would like to thank the President of this country because it is very important for us to have peace in the country. When there is no peace in the country, you do not witness development because many people will be running up and down fighting.
Finally, let me congratulate Madam President of the Senate for landing the Vice President’s role at the African Parliamentary Union (APU), representing the Southern African Regional Group. I would like to appreciate that very much because that never used to happen during the colonial times. I would like to applaud the New Dispensation for ensuring that women occupy such high offices. Indeed, that is the wish for women that Madam President got that high and esteemed office. I would like to thank you very much Mr. President.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 20th October, 2021.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Eleven Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.